The Feast of the Epiphany ~ Arrival of the three Wise Men

The Feast of the Epiphany is one of my favorite feasts.

According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, “The Epiphany is the manifestation of Jesus as Messiah of Israel, Son of God and Savior of the world. The great feast of Epiphany celebrates the adoration of Jesus by the wise men (magi) from the East, together with his baptism in the Jordan and the wedding feast at Cana in Galilee.” 

The definition of Epiphany is the manifestation, originating from the Greek word epiphaneia. We celebrate the manifestation of Our Lord to the whole world. First, the Christ child was made known to the shepherds in the fields, representing the Jewish people. Second, he was presented to the Magi who have come from the East to adore Him. This was he is here to save all people, in this was Jesus Christ did do as it is told, “Behold, I make all things new.”

I believe wise men can be remembered for three things.

The wise men are remembered for their gifts, gold for a king, Gold is also the metal of Heaven it is mentioned 22 times in the book of Revelation, and it also symbolizes power and sovereignty. Frankincense for worshiping and they knew they were in a holy place.  Finally, we come to myrrh. Myrrh is for burial, but also for sacrifice. Jesus came to be sacrificed for our sins. Mary held all things in her heart.

Do you remember a gift that you gave that you still hold in your heart? A gift that you work to save for or a gift of self-denial for someone you love. A life-changing gift. Maybe it was a gift you received. A child’s drawing that still holds a special place in your home. May the gift is only a memory but you hold it close to your heart. The gift most worth of giving is your love. Who do you give that gift to?

The Magi are remembered for their journey and their quest for God. A star guided them. Do you remember being one of those stars? Did you by your life example shine the light of Christ for someone to see the way forward? So often it is by example and not by word that we lead someone to Christ.  Do you have one of those stars in your life who brought you to God – through their love, their teaching, the example of their lives?

The Magi are remembered for their joy. Can you remember sometime in life when you were overcome with joy? Was it a God whisper that you experienced, the birth of a child, maybe finding a lost object?  Have you ever provided the kind of joy to someone the Wise men experienced upon seeing the Christ Child? Perhaps you can recall a time when joy warmed your heart and a smile on your face.

I pray I may remember to use the gifts God has blessed me with,

to share them with others, and to appreciate the gifts of othered shared with me.

I pray for a blessing for all the stars in my life.

I pray for the opportunity to be that light for others with whom I cross paths.

I thank God for the many joys I have experienced and pray that

I can be able to share the joy of Christ with others

and let the waves of that joy wash over the whole world.

                                                            Amen

When my kids were all little, every year, we took part in a traditional Epiphany house blessing.  This blessing remembers the magi’s adoration of the Christ Child but can also help in talking about the feast of the Epiphany.   In the house blessing, each room of the house is blessed with holy water and the initials of the magi together with the year are inscribed over the doorway in chalk,

“20 + C + M + B + 23.”

In addition to the initials representing the names of Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar, some say that the initials stand for Christus mansionem benedicat, or, “Christ, bless this house.” 

Bless, + O Lord God, this creature, chalk, and let it be a help to mankind. Grant that those who will use it with faith in your most holy name, and with it inscribe on the doors of their homes the names of your saints, Casper, Melchior, and Baltassar, may through their merits and intercession enjoy health in body and protection of soul; through Christ our Lord.

I was walking by my front window and I saw what appeared to be three men heading to a stable with a light glowing from it. Mind you this all happened during a blizzard so I can’t be absolutely sure of what I saw.

This puzzle is entitled, “Three Men.” I did this puzzle when my kids were young, and we framed it every year it hung in our dining room for the Feast of the Epiphany. I must also add here, I truly believe there were wise women who traveled with the caravan of Wise Men. These women would have brought gifts as well, food and drink, clothing for the child, and a warm embrace for his mother and father for all they had endured bringing this child into the world.

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